I miss the old days of radio and the top 40. Even the top 20 would work.
Professional sports present enormous challenges to even the best conditioned athletes in the world. The grind of 16 regular season, four preseason and playoff games is tough for NFL players. The exhaustion of the preseason, 82 regular season games and a protracted postseason is tough on NBA players.
With baseball, it is 20 to 30 spring training games, 162 regular season games and the playoffs. Clearly, baseball is the longest season with the most games. Staying healthy for an entire season is very difficult.
That is why off the field injuries are both unwelcomed and maddening to coaches, general managers and owners. The litany of unusual baseball injuries suffered off the field is legendary and it grew by one, claiming a Louisiana product having an All-Star caliber season.
Former Louisiana-Lafayette catcher Jonathan Lucroy of the Milwaukee Brewers suffered a broken hand this past Saturday and has been placed on the disabled list.
Of course, catchers getting hurt is commonplace. Guys that play the position get hit in every way possible--by base runners, by batted balls, even by bats. That is why catchers don what are commonly referred to as "tools of ignorance," the inference being that you must be crazy to play the position.
With that as a backdrop, Lucroy getting hurt is not a surprise. What is surprising is how he got hurt.
One of baseball's hottest hitters, Lucroy suffered a broken right hand in a hotel room accident Saturday and he will miss four to six weeks.
It seems Lucroy was in bed and was trying to locate a dreaded missing sock. He reached under the bed and simultaneously, his wife shifted a suitcase which fell and struck his hand. Lucroy felt pain but tried to swing a bat when he got to Dodger Stadium but simply could not grip it. He told team officials, had X-rays and the broken bone was discovered.
Lucroy was well on his way to an All-Star game appearance, batting .345 with five home runs, 10 doubles, four triples and 30 RBI in just 43 games. He has a .388 average in May and leads the major leagues with an amazing .514 average with runners in scoring position. The caper resurrected the common 1960's proclamation and song, "Sock it to me, Baby," by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
While Lucroy's unfortunate and unusual mishap is the latest flavor of the day with unusual baseball injuries, here is the top 20 list of previous off the field errors, in no particular order.
1) Former New Orleans Zephyr Steve Sparks was battling to make the starting rotation with the Brewers in 1994 when he dislocated his shoulder while trying to tear a phone book in half. "Sparky" was inspired by a motivational speaker and was attempting to emulate him. Perhaps Little Richard's "Rip It" was the inspiration. Sparks ended up in New Orleans that year, much to my delight as the Zephyrs' play-by-play man. He is a great guy.
2) All-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson missed several games with frostbite while with Toronto. The condition was incurred in August. Seems Henderson fell asleep on an ice pack and suffered the condition. I cannot confirm that Henderson was listening to Foreigner's "Cold As Ice," at the time.
3) Sammy Sosa of the Cubs was placed on the disabled list after sneezing violently, causing painful back spasms. Clearly, the proper reply here was not, "God bless you." Cannot help but think of Sesame Street's "The Sneeze Song" and Bryant Oden here.
4) Former catcher Mickey Tettleton of the Tigers went on the disabled list with a severe case of athlete's foot after he tied his shoes too tight. Tettleton was in a funk after the injury, a Grand Funk, not prepared to listen to any "Footstompin' Music."
5) Moises Alou, a good player whose career was plagued by injuries, had a couple of doozies. While with the Astros, he injured his knee in 1999 when he fell off his treadmill and in 2000, he re-injured the knee by running over his son with his bicycle, missing a full year. Where was Steve Bartman when you need him to save Alou from himself? Alou can take solace in Darius Rucker's "We All Fall Down."
6) Vince Coleman, who was a terror on the base paths and the catalyst for St. Louis reaching the 1985 World Series, missed that series. Coleman was coming off the field at Busch Stadium when the automatic tarp machine, which rose up out of the artificial turf, snared Coleman and hurt his leg. Without Coleman, the Cardinals lost to the underdog Kansas City Royals in seven games. The mishap was as big of a "bomb" as the television series and the movie "Maneater" in recent years. Hall and Oates certainly weren't singing about a tarp in their hit song of the same title.
7) Former Twins star Kent Hrbek missed the final 10 games of the 1990 season when he suffered a sprained ankle while wrestling with a clubhouse attendant. No truth to the rumor that Vince McMahon staged it for pay-per-view possibilities. Paul Simon's "The Boxer" doesn't quite work here though Bruce Springsteen did come up with 'The Wrestler."
8) Glenallen Hill of the Blue Jays missed a few games after falling out of his bed while in the midst of a dream of spiders surrounding him and attempting to harm him. Hill jumped out of bed, fell through a glass table and suffered several cuts while crawling through the broken glass. Guess Hill will not be checking out the Amazing Spider-Man this summer. I can hear it now--"The Itsy Bitsy Spider Climbed Up the Water Spout."
9) Former Boston reliever Bob Stanley slipped down the stairs while taking out trash from his home and missed a few games. Guess that garbage really stunk! Where was River Parish Disposal when you needed them? Stanley went War by "Slippin' Into Darkness."
10) Former Cy Young award winner Denny McLain of the Tigers went to bed one night and woke up the next day with four dislocated toes. I've heard of and experienced my feet and toes falling asleep but this is ridiculous! No truth to the rumor that McLain fell asleep to Kermit The Frog's "Happy Feet" that night.
11) Orioles outfielder Marty Cordova fell asleep in a tanning bed and burned his face. No truth the rumor that Cordova was listening to "Disco Inferno" by the Trampps at the time.
12) Former Braves great John Smoltz tried to iron his shirt while he was wearing it. Bad move. He burned his chest. We cannot confirm that Smoltz is a Black Sabbath "Iron Man" fan though he probably saw the movie of the same name.
13) Speaking of former Braves star pitchers, Tom Glavine broke a rib in 1992 after vomiting up airplane food. Guess he wasn't in first class. Wonder if Glavine is a fan of the ban "Poison?" No truth to the rumor that Weird Al Yankovic was encouraging Glavine to just "Eat it."
14) Clint Barmes broke his collarbone as a Rockies rookie while trying to carry deer meat down stairs. The weight got to much to bear and he fell. Perhaps he should have tried a cow. As Mick Jagger described, Barmes simply came across a "Beast of Burden."
15) Detroit relief pitcher Joel Zumaya missed the first three games of the American League Championship Series in 2006 when he was injured while playing Guitar Hero. Zumaya suffered inflammation in his throwing wrist. Wonder why PlayStation or Xbox have not hired Zumaya as a spokesperson? I can hear the riff of Eddie Van Halen's "You Really Got Me." Guess Zumaya couldn't work out the "Kinks."
16) Former National League Most Valuable Player Jeff Kent of the Giants broke his wrist while washing his truck. Seems he slipped and fell on the wrist. With his earnings, perhaps Kent should have owned a Rolls-Royce. Perhaps he should have heeded the hint by Rose Royce to take his vehicle to the "Car Wash."
17) Rangers outfielder Oddibe McDowell disabled himself when he sliced his hand at the team Welcome Home luncheon--while he was attempting to butter his roll. Was that white bread or wheat bread? Rod Stewart's "The First Cut Is The Deepest," certainly comes to mind.
18) Orioles relief pitcher Mark Smith injured his hand after sticking it in an air conditioner to see if he could determine why the thing was not working. I'm guessing he got a cool reception from his manager? As Bob Dylan once crooned, "The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind."
19) Hall of Famer George Brett of the Royals once broke his toe on a chair at home. Seems he was in a hurry, running from his kitchen to catch Bill Buckner hitting on television. Brett's error gives a whole new meaning to letting one roll through the five hole. As Jackson Browne described, I guess Brett was "Runnin' On Empty," after the incident.
20) Marlins pitcher Ricky Bones landed on the disabled list after injuring a finger on his pitching hand while changing channels on the clubhouse television. I would call that a remote injury. Guess Bones is not a fan of the movie "Switch" or of Steve Wonder's song "Fingertips."
Seriously, you cannot make this stuff up. The hits just keep on coming!
Seriously, we truly hope to see Lucroy make a quick, full recovery and resume what has been an outstanding season, playing more of a happy tune so we can stop going Phil Collins with the common hitters' lament ("I Missed Again) on a great sport.
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